Uruguay coach Óscar Tabárez says Luis Suarez's transgressions are firmly in the past as he looks poised to throw his fit-again striker into the attack against England.
Tabárez indicated there had been no discussion of Suarez's controversial deliberate handball at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, when he punched a ball off the line in the quarter-finals against Ghana.
Suarez, who has pronounced himself fit after keyhole surgery on his left knee, has also twice been banned for biting and once for racism during a chequered-if-prolific career. But Tabárez said he didn't intend to remind the 27-year-old about his conduct ahead of Thursday's make-or-break game against England in Sao Paulo.
"I think the image we project is positive. We've received many fair play awards...and I think this proves we have good conduct in our team," he said. "Football is played by human beings, so you need humanity to accept that sometimes human beings make mistakes. It's not possible to start talking about things that happened four years ago. I think we have to concentrate on the future and not start thinking about something that happened four years ago."
Football is played by human beings, so you need humanity to accept that sometimes human beings make mistakes.
Suarez trained alongside Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani and was moving freely at a cold and wet Corinthians Arena as they went through a one-touch possession exercise. Veteran forward Diego Forlan, who started in Saturday's 3-1 loss to Costa Rica, worked out with a separate group, suggesting a Suarez-Cavani partnership for the South American champions against England.
The Liverpool star, this season's English Premier League top-scorer with 31 goals, appears key to Uruguay's chances as the 2010 semi-finalists try to rescue their campaign. Tabárez said Suarez had recovered well from last month's operation, but he also refused to confirm whether he would play on Thursday.
"He has recovered very well. His knee seems to have adapted with the training and the work he's been doing. He's been training and playing with his team-mates during this last week," he said.
"Obviously a training session is not the same as a game. If he plays tomorrow we must consider the possibility that he's not as fit as he was during the Premier League. But still, even if he's not at 100 percent he's somebody who can give a lot to his team."
In 2010, Suarez was sent off for his deliberate handball in the last seconds of extra-time. Ghana missed the resulting spot-kick and Uruguay eventually went through on penalties.